Gingrich, Santorum Accused of Racially Insensitive Remarks

William Douglas
McClatchy / News Report
Published: Saturday 7 January 2012
In a video clip on CBS News’ website, Santorum appears to say: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”
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Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are fending off accusations that they made racially tinged remarks about African-Americans and public assistance.

Gingrich accused the news media Friday of taking a comment he made earlier in the week at a New Hampshire town hall meeting out of context. He said there that if he were invited to address the NAACP annual convention, he was prepared to tell the civil rights organization why "the African-American community should demand paychecks, and not be satisfied with food stamps."

"Now there's no neighborhood I know of in America where if you went around and asked people, 'Would you rather your children had food stamps or paychecks?' you wouldn't end up with a majority saying they'd rather have a paycheck," Gingrich said, according to a transcript written from a video of the event. "And so, I'm prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I'll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks, and not be satisfied with food stamps."

Some African-American leaders and civil rights group considered Gingrich's words racially insensitive. They've noted that Gingrich often refers to President Barack Obama as the "food stamp president."

"It is a shame that the former speaker feels that these types of inaccurate, divisive statements are in any way helpful to our country," NAACP President Benjamin Jealous said in statement Friday. "The majority of people using food stamps are not African-American, and most people using food stamps have a job."

According to 2010 Department of Agriculture data, 34 percent of food stamp recipients were white, 22 percent were African-American, 16 percent were Hispanic, 4 percent were Native American and 3 percent were Asian. (The remainder didn't indicate their race/ethnicity.)

Jealous added: "We invited Speaker Gingrich to attend our annual convention several times when he was speaker of the House, but he declined to join us. If he's invited again, I hope that he would come, with the intention to unite rather than divide."

R.C. Hammond, a Gingrich spokesman, said Gingrich was speaking generally, making the case that, unlike other Republicans, he'd be more inclusive and would deliver his message to any ethnic community in America.

Gingrich said Friday at a gun-manufacturing plant in Newport that he'd read a transcript of his remarks and concluded that he'd said nothing racially offensive.

"I think you'd have to be nuts to read those two paragraphs and conclude anything except that I was saying that every young American deserves the right to pursue happiness," he said. "Every neighborhood in America deserves a chance to have paychecks instead of food stamps. And I was saying something which I thought for a Republican candidate would come as a refreshing positive, which is I would be happy to go to the NAACP convention and talk about creating greater opportunities for all Americans."

Gingrich said that Rep. Allen West of Florida, one of two African-American Republicans in the House of Representatives, and former Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., an African-American who was a member of Gingrich's House leadership team when he was speaker, would vouch that his remarks weren't insensitive.

Rep. Tim Scott, R-S.C., a tea party-supported African-American House freshman, criticized Gingrich's remarks Friday. That could be problematic for Gingrich as he and the other GOP presidential candidates are vying for Scott's endorsement before the Palmetto State's GOP primary Jan. 21.

Scott, appearing on CBS, called Gingrich's remarks a "preposterous comment as it relates to what the African-American community would like to have."

NAACP officials and National Urban League President Marc Morial also took after Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, for allegedly singling out African-Americans when he talked about public assistance programs during a campaign stop last Sunday in Sioux City, Iowa.

In a video clip on CBS News' website, Santorum appears to say: "I don't want to make black people's lives better by giving them somebody else's money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families."

Santorum vigorously denies using the phrase "black people."

"I looked at that, and I didn't say that," he told Fox News' Bill O'Reilly. "If you look at it, what I started to say is a word and then sort of changed and it sort of - blah - came out. And people said I said 'black." I didn't."

Morial wasn't convinced. He issued a statement two days ago accusing Santorum of "perpetuating a thoroughly false and destructive racial stereotype in a desperate attempt to score political points."

"He is appealing to the lowest common denominator within the electorate and quite frankly should be ashamed of himself," the statement said.



Steve Tanton is a cretin.

Steve Tanton is a cretin.

steve tanton's picture

Racism is anytime a

Racism is anytime a conservative disagrees with a liberal.

“Liberals seem to assume that, if you don't believe in their particular political solutions, then you don't really care about the people that they claim to want to help.” - Thomas Sowell

Just follow the money. Racism is kept alive by liberals who stand to benefit by the votes of uneducated minorities and the money that is earned by anti-racist liberation zealots praying on the fears of the "victims". As long as they stay on "Uncle Sam's Plantation" which is fueled by mostly false accusations of hatred and government and union payoffs, Democrats stand to gain power and the race-bating folks keep on a preachin'. There will always be some racism from someone but to take what is not out of context and pump it up as the real deal is disingenuous but often effective. Again, follow the money.

Most folks really don't care what color you are, but they do care about your character. We need to move on and stop the trumpeting of a dying problem. The sooner the better.

Santorum's mechabnics are

Santorum's mechabnics are flawed. You cannot extraolate blah into anything but the word block. Blah does not convert easily into the word black. He did not stumble when he spoke those words. Did he mean to say he didn't want to give money to block people? Sorry rikky, you're an asshole.

Santorum and Gingrich

Santorum and Gingrich obviously know the Republican base and what appeals to it very well. Racism has been a fundamental of Republican campaigning since the late 1960s when Richard Nixon inaugurated the "southern strategy" as a way of drawing southerners who, since the Civil War, had traditionally voted Democratic into the Republican camp due to JFK's and LBJ's advocacy for black civil rights. Since then and, year by year, the racism has grown only more virulent.

ooops...

ooops...

Black folks were beaten and

Black folks were beaten and murdered by the thousands after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation to the present for simply asking peaefully that their basic Constitutional and civil rights as American citizens be acknowledged and respected, and now Newt Gingrich says they should demand paychecks instead of food stamps. How's that work?! It's his political party that is bigotted knee jerk reactionary racists (Confederates and Ku Klux Kristians) still fighting the Civil War for the cause of slavery that keeps the hatred, bigotry, and mean-spirittedness against blacks alive.
And Rick Santorum didn't get the memo from Jeezus that most food stamp recipients and "welfare queens" are poor white children, but he is impervious to facts and TRUTH like all Republicans are, especially Ku Klux Kristians. Sanctimonious Santorum is a right-wing political ideologue and a hatemongering anti-Christian who should read the Bible about tying a rock around his neck and casting himself into the sea because of it.

The Republican Party has lost

The Republican Party has lost it's way. Ironically, it was Newt Gingrich who put the GOP on it's current path of right wing politics when he was in congress in the 1990s. Both Gingrich and Santorum appeal to that very right wing populace who would welcome a return to the 1950 when people of color were considered second class citizens. Very sad indeed.

Works the same way in Brazil.

Works the same way in Brazil. I guess its the same capital accumulation manual with a slight tropical twist.

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